Tower Bridge

About Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a Grade I listed, four-level suspended bridge, located close to the Tower of London and the Tower Bridge Exhibition in London, UK.

Tower Bridge was opened to the public by Edward, Prince of Wales and Alexandra, Princess of Wales in 1894. It is one of five London bridges owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust founded in 1282.

Tower Bridge Rd, London SE1 2UP
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Facts about Tower Bridge


Designers Horace Jones and Henry Marc Brunel, working together with the engineer John Wolfe Barry, help with its construction. The bridge was constructed to give better access to the East End of London, which had expanded its commercial & manufacturing potential in the 19th century. 

The 2.7-mile (4.3-km) suspension bridge that connects the neighbourhoods of Tower Bridge and The Thames has a rotatable cable housed in a chain in the core of the towers.

The bridge is approximately 933 feet (282 m) in length with a main span of 800 feet (240 m) and has a total of 6 main spans, supported by pairs of swing spans in the towers. Opening outward from the main spans are a pair of rectangular bascule spans. The whole bridge is connected by two walkways on the upper level which contains shops, galleries, offices and restaurants. The deck is freely accessible (providing pedestrians and vehicle entry) and is connected to the lower level via a lift and is also free to access. On the

Because Tower Bridge is widely recognised as a landmark in London, it's often confused with London Bridge. This has led to a persistent urban legend about an American purchasing the wrong bridge.


History of Tower Bridge


In the late 19th century, new commercial development occurred in London's East End. Since most river crossings were prebuilt river banks at street level, there was a demand for a new river crossing across the River Thames at a suitably high elevation for surface shipping. Two pre-built bridges to the east of London Bridge could not be built because they would have obstructed the flow of traffic between London and the Port Royal, a river port across the river.

The Special Bridge Commission was formed in 1877 for the express purpose of completing a bridge across the Thames. Experiments resulted in the design of the Spandau Bridges. Spectacular plans were made, but when Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s plan was chosen unanimously, difficulties set in as both ships and barges were too wide to slip underneath the opening span without barely clearing it from the north.

Additional depth would require larger headrooms, which would rule out Sir Joseph’s plan. The solution was a huge dome mechanism that raised the central part of the bridge during the day, close enough to the water level in the South to freely pass ships and barges, while raised on a caisson at night. Construction of London’s first bascule bridge commenced in 1879 and an Act of Parliament was passed on 30 June 1884 to authorise it. It specified the opening span had to provide a clear

Barry designed a bridge that is divided into two equal branches by a central bascule. These two side spans are suspension bridges, which are anchored at both the upstream and downstream ends. 


Tower Bridge Exhibition


The Tower Bridge Exhibition display is located in the bridge's twin towers and explores 34 fascinating aspects of its development. Visitors can access the original steam engines now housed in a building near to the south end of the Bridge.

The entrance for the exhibit is on the Western side of the bridge deck to the northern tower, from where visitors ascend to level 4 by lift before crossing the high level walkways to the southern tower.

There is a glass waterway that goes across the bridge comprising a walkway on top of the piers above the water. In this walkway, there are two large walkways for visitors to move about. 


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Travelling to Tower Bridge

Want to read about another great promotional location in London? Check out the Tower of London.